Herschell Gordon Lewis' BloodMania

Herschell Gordon Lewis' BloodMania
The Godfather of Gore is back, and it's about bloody time!!!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

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Sabbath 2008 - * The film making process as we understand it goes like this: idea, script, find investors, hire crew and actors, preproduction, shooting, and post production. How this atrocity to the senses got past step one is overwhelmingly stupefying. The only person that comes close to acting here is David Crawford who previously had a bit part in the original "Dawn Of The Dead". Crawford plays a pedophile Reverend, just one of the ridiculous caricatures in this film. We are giving this a single star because there are a few scenes of passable gore interspersed with shots of mannequin parts covered in stage blood, and one memorable scene where two characters are smoking weed, laughing, and generally acting like they are auditioning for a remake of "Reefer Madness". What makes this scene is the entirely inappropriate music playing in the background. We couldn't stop laughing, though we're sure this was entirely unintentional on the film makers part. Otherwise the script is a mess containing characters like the grim reaper (official scythe carrying kind), an angel, and shadow demons that sort of resemble Venom from Spider-man (guys in black who crawl around on the floor). The male lead simply can't act, and his female counterpart who looks a lot like Snooki can't either. If you are an actor or member of the crew of this film and you are reading this, YOU SUCK - find another profession. 




Salty Dogs 2010 - *** Now this is why we do this, sometimes all the elements come together. This ten minute short has it all, it's well shot, well acted, has effective looking zombies, and great gore effects. It was made by Ghostbandit Films, and directed by Randy Link. The film is complete below.



 Santa Claus Versus The Zombies 2010 - NO STARS Steve and I have decided to favor you with an early Christmas present this year. Ready? The greatest gift you are going to receive this year is this: never watch this film

There are films out there with bad acting performances, but this one has them uniformly throughout. Some have ludicrous plots: this one wins. It's hard to even know where to start when attempting to summarize this films' shitiness. It touts itself as a comedy on the IMDB, and indeed it tries to be for the first ten minutes. The highlight of the humor revolves around a guy named Dick, and is exactly as funny as you'd think. The plot then devolves into a drama that jumps back and forth between a family who are trapped in a house with a hired Santa and his elves during a zombie outbreak, and an emergency base where the President of the U.S. and members of his military are trying to solve the zombie problem. The casting of the family is hilarious, as the Mother and Father are maybe five years older than the girl playing their daughter. Now the Santa Claus of the title may be an actor or the bona fide Kris Kringle, and one of his elves may truly be an elf or a drunk. The script itself has the cast speaking in ways that no one in real life does. This is not uncommon in a self produced and directed genre film such as this, but this one is the most glaring examples. 

This is also the only zombie film that we can remember that has no gory violence. Blood is shown twice. Even the title is misleading as Santa only destroys two zombies with some magical power he conjures from his hands. He does it once and, then inexplicably, it is never referred to again. Later, though, he does kick a zombie in the balls, and attacks them using a makeshift gun that shoots small stuffed animals. Most of the middle of the film revolves around the President having to ward off a coup led by one of his Generals. There are long scenes of characters spouting political rhetoric in settings that are obviously low budget sets, and some of the worst CGI effects in recent memory. There is just so much nonsense in this movie. In some scenes there is computer generated snow falling, in the next you can plainly see it is Summer where they are filming. Add to this talking zombies that look like Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf, and you have a film that had us checking our watches in disbelief that time could pass so slowly.

 This movie was written and directed by George Bonilla who has also released the "Zombie Planet" films upon the world. Mr. Bonilla if you read this, we would submit that maybe this is not the occupation for you. We cannot emphasize enough that you save yourself 100 minutes of your life, and spend that time doing something worthwhile like flushing the toilet more than is strictly necessary.



Shadow: Dead Riot 2006 -  *1/2 A.K.A. "Dead Riot". This film isn't as bad as some reviewers would have you believe. While it is true that Tony Todd is slumming, and it is more of a voodoo priest/serial killer/lesbian prison film than a zombie film, it does have its moments.You don't see a single zombie until the 60 minute mark, and then for only about 15 minutes, but these scenes are pretty good. The make-up is believable, there are some decent gore effects, and our old friend Bill Hinzman shows up in the zombie pack. Try to ignore the zombie that knows Kung Fu. We certainly wouldn't recommend this film to try and satisfy your undead cinematic needs, but if you're looking for a very B movie that contains a lot of nudity, and some innovative scenes of gore, you could do a lot worse than this one. If you can find the grindhouse version that was released as "Dead Riot" so much the better, it just feels right for this movie as the trailer demonstrates.



Shatter Dead 1994 - ***1/2 This film evidences that one does not need a big budget to make a good zombie film, but be warned these are not Romero zombies. In this scenario you die then are re-animated with your faculties intact. The dead do continue to decompose though, and have to cope in a world that doesn't want them.  The story is innovative, the effects marvelous, and there are a couple of scenes that are unlike anything we have ever seen before in any other film. It is a hard film to find, but worth the effort. Perhaps not a date film....



Shaun Of The Dead 2004 - **** This film is largely responsible for the popularity of zombies over the last half a decade. A perfect mixture of comedy and violence, with a love story to boot. Not just a good zombie film, but a good film period. A must see.




Sick 2012- *** Canadians have been producing the finest zombie films of late. While original and fresh, there is a clear sense of homage to Romero in Director Ryan M. Andrews vision. This is a must see for the zombie enthusiast. This is the kind of film that we wish for here, a nice slice of life piece revolving around three characters trying to make it through the apocalypse. It is hard to review this without giving away spoilers, but here is what we can tell you. A scientist trying to find the solution to the outbreak leaves her safe compound on a mission of her own design. On the way she runs into two men from a survivor's camp, and together they hole up in a house to try and survive the night. While the film was shot on a modest budget, and some of the acting suspect, the tale here is what matters. There is actually very little zombie action onscreen, but the plot makes the trip wholly worthwhile. The surprise ending has a twist that few will see coming, and ultimately makes this well worth your viewing time.



Silent Night, Zombie Night 2009 - *** This is a pretty damn good film for a low budget entry. Having said that, if you are expecting some kind of Christmas zombie shoot em up you will be sorely disappointed. Yes, the film takes place a week before Christmas, and you do get to see a Santa zombie; but that is the extent of it. Instead we are given a love triangle between Frank, Nash, and Sarah. Frank and Nash are partners on the police force. Frank and Sarah are married. Interspersed with their three way love story is some very decent violence and mayhem. The makeup here is passable, and some of the gore effects are very good. It is however the story that puts this film a cut above the rest, and the cast is up to the task as well. The whole endeavor wouldn't hold together as well without the believable performance by Jack Forcinito as Frank. There is nothing likable about this character, he's a prick essentially; but by the end of the film one finds themselves rooting for him nonetheless. This one is definitely worth an hour and a half of your life.



Special Dead 2006 - ** Camp Special Dead is experiencing a zombie outbreak. Who is to save them ? Retards of course. The premise was much better than the actual product. Yes there are laughs due largely to the extreme lack of political correctness. There are some things never before seen, a woman turning into a zombie while taking it from behind, and zombie poop. The gore and make-up are merely OK,  when you can actually see them. The cameras used have a very low lux rating which wouldn't be a problem except that 95% of the film takes place at night. The mentally disabled vs the living dead premise grows wearisome, and the director uses some Family Guyesque shots that are horribly long and drawn out. The film's worst sin is the acting. The actors can't realistically act retarded. Now that's saying something. The only decent actor was the token black guy who was literally that, there is no reason for him to be in this film except to nigger it up. It's worth watching for the first half, but kind of goes down hill from there.



Stag Night Of The Dead 2010 - **1/2 This medium budget British film is entertaining. The basic premise of a stag party on a military base where a game called "zomball" is played never quite lives up to its potential though. After the bird flu pandemic the government has covered up the fact that the virus has changed citizens into zombies. A nefarious group of scientists lure people to play zomball to experiment upon them. Zomball is sort of like paintball with real zombies as your opponents. The group doesn't realize how badly the cards are stacked against them. Players are given special weapons to incapacitate the zombies for a short period of time without actually damaging them, and a number of rules to govern play. This automatically reduces the violence quotient by eliminating head shots, etc. There is actually little gory violence beyond a few scenes with the usual intestinal consumption. Bear in mind this is a comedy, and there are some good laughs to be had, most of which are at the expense of stereotypical characters. The zombie make-up was satisfying, but we would have liked a little more graphic gore and nudity from a film about a stag party. Overall a decent effort in a genre currently filled with mediocrity.



Stalled 2013 - **The zombie comedy is really becoming a mainstay in the genre as ideas are running out for the primary horror aspect. Not only is this tale quite funny at times, but it can definitely be considered a Christmas zombie film as well.

 The story revolves around a newly unemployed janitor/handyman in an office building being trapped in a toilet stall when the apocalypse begins during a Christmas party. He develops a friendship with a woman named Heather trapped a couple of stalls down, and together they try to find a way to escape and survive.

The gore here is not over the top and overt, but is sufficient. The focal point is on the dialogue between the trapped twosome, and the revealing of their personal stories. This film is just a decent way to spend some time in a genre that is rapidly becoming ever more tedious, and is definitely worth a viewing.





State Of Emergency 2010 - * This is a seldom heard of, fast zombie of the infected variety, little film.The reason why no one has ever heard of it? It is quite simply bland. From the one note performance of Jay Hayden, who portrays the main protagonist Jim, to the make-up on the zombies - it is just so fucking bland. True, it has a modest 1.3 million dollar budget, but there has been so much more done with so much less. The plot and the effects offer nothing new or exciting, and the flashbacks to Jim's relationship with his wife offer the most obvious lack of chemistry since Anakin and Padme. The characters here are largely unlikable, the script lacks humor, and the ending is as contrived as the movie itself seems endless. There is not a single reason we can think of to recommend this one to you.





Steve Nile's Remains 2011 - * We haven't read the graphic novel this is based on but we're pretty sure we would enjoy it more than this made for TV snooze fest. This film was produced by the Network "Chiller" in the U.S. It is filled with the familiar and predictable, with the usual group of survivors trapped in a bar in Reno and trying to come up with a means of escape. The new plot twist here is that the zombies sleep at night. Yeah you read that right, they sleep standing up. Do our protagonists take proper advantage of this, sneak past them to the nearest car, and fuck off? Of course not, they find clumsy ways of making noise so that they wake them up. Why the screen writers thought this was a good innovation escapes us. Where is the jeopardy if you can waltz right past the undead while they take a fucking nap? The violence and effects are exactly what we have come to expect from these made for TV projects, too little and not very convincing. The best way to describe this film is bland and inoffensive, the Hoobastank of zombie films. One really has to wonder why the networks bother delving into the genre with so many limitations in their way. Hey Mr. Television Producer, do everyone a favor and leave the zombie film making to the studios. Only worth a viewing if it's free.



Stripperland 2011 - **1/2 Sometimes a B movie such as this provides you an opportunity to see something unique and unusual like Daniel Baldwin as the world's biggest Hip Hop star. Not that you ever wanted to see it necessarily, it's just unique. This film is essentially a scene by scene rip off of "Zombieland" with elements of the zombie porn film, "Night Of The Giving Head" thrown in. As a spoof of "Zombieland" it is actually well done, and has several clever, amusing moments. Our primary complaint is that it follows a disturbing trend that pops up as of late; little or no nudity. This is a direct to video release, there is no rating system to worry about, it is about zombie strippers - therefore isn't it in your best interests to include bare breasts for your largely younger male audience? The good news is that there is a copious amount of gore that is, for the most part, very well done, and Linnea Quigley shows up to kick some ass. If we have one complaint at all it is that the film marginalizes women and strippers in particular. Yeah right, just fucking with you.




The Supernaturals 1985 - * Zombies - yes, gore - no. Only Star Trek fans will be interested in this, as someone actually cast Nichelle Nichols in this Civil War zombie flop. This is a pretty tough one to find, so below is the full movie for your edification....




Survival Of The Dead 2009 - *** The sixth film by the Master, George A. Romero revolves around the soldiers we saw briefly in the previous entry "Diary Of The Dead" and their attempt to find a safe haven. They are lured to an island where there are two families warring over how the dead should be dealt with. Patrick O' Flynn believes they should be destroyed, while his childhood rival Seamus Muldoon believes that the brighter zombies can be taught to eat something other than humans. That's the plot in a nutshell, but being a Romero film he is making a statement about the state of conditions closer to home. The role of O'Flynn is played by Kenneth Walsh, a particular favorite of ours since his days on "Twin Peaks", and the rest of the cast is solid. You know instantly that it is a Romero film by the, shall we say, artistry of the violence. The effects are seamless, and at times groundbreaking in the genre (a scene featuring severed heads comes to mind). This is an uneven successor to his previous works, and the ending offers some hope for humanity in the long run. But George, a zombie having the dexterity to ride a horse ? Please !!!

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